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The Fall of Amar Kirid

Created by

Preetham Gunalan

Assisted by

Vibhav Singh

Amar Kirid had fallen, the great sage Nizhalmozhi’s curse had come true. Under a moonless sky, with her Sword of Bone and Creatures of Ash, the Midnight Queen claimed the Castle. When the sun rose again, only dark clouds remained. And a distant thunder that had come to life, growling in the sky.

The Fall of Amar Kirid

Creator's Note:

This experiment was a chance to explore something that's always been on my mind - 'A fully animated illustration’. Every part of the canvas pulses with some movement, some life, but wherever you pause it, there's an intricate painting in front of you.

It was interesting to have the result clear in my head, but with no idea of how to execute it at first haha. Letting my interest in FX animation and creature design guide the piece, I arrived at something that fully utilised my skillsets and Vibhav Singh’s incredible painting and colour magic! For the setting, we drew inspiration from Mughal and ‘South Indian temple’ architecture (from Pandhyan to Chola) to build the ruins of Amar Kirid.

The idea with the animations was ‘quantity’, to have enough going on with each element that it felt layered and energetic. The animation process involved three main steps to achieve this.

First, the characters would have two overlapping loops of 2D hand-drawn animations, with a matching cadence to create a sense of pulsing throughout the piece.

Next, was a short loop of a contoured texture over all the characters. The contouring followed the same direction of the animations and their designs, this was crucial in making it feel like the ‘energy’ was actually moving.

For the final step, we masked the texture to the 2D effect and added some glow and colour adjustments.  This whole process worked really well in giving texture and energy to the animation without us having to paint it in each frame.

This is a full time-lapse of the BG painting process.

The inspiration for the concept came from combining Mughal and south-indian-temple aesthetics. The painting style was something that had pockets of strong details, but also a brushy diffused sense in other places.

The details helped accentuate the culture of the castle, and add the sensation that something powerful and ancient had finally fallen.  That diffused abstraction in the painting was important to incorporate motion effects on these assets later on. This also lent to the chaos and energy of the moment.

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